Winning solves everything, they say. But what about losing? Well, bickering tends to follow. And the Giants were the latest example on Sunday, with several coaches and players seen in heated sideline discussions amid a 49-17 blowout loss at the hands of the Cowboys.
Facing a 2-8 start with key players like Daniel Jones and Darren Waller sidelined due to injury, the Giants trailed 28-0 at halftime and 42-7 entering the fourth quarter of their Week 10 showdown. Running back Saquon Barkley was the first to be spotted venting frustration, engaging in an “animated discussion” with coach Brian Daboll after a failed goal-line series, per the Fox broadcast.
Later in the NFC East matchup, wide receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard appeared to be at odds. The former could be seen grabbing Shepard’s shoulder pads in conversation, then shaking his head while walking away as Shepard trailed him on the sidelines, still vocal about whatever they were discussing.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll downplayed the sideline exchange, much like every other question in his press conference after Sunday’s 49-17 loss.
“Yeah, Slayton and Shep, they weren’t getting into it. Little stuff during the game. Not a big deal,” Daboll said. “I’ve talked to all those guys. Not the results we want but get back to work.”
Shepard was over the sideline exchange too, as both players were caught in the heat of the moment.
“Man, Listen. That is my brother like my mother’s kids,” Shepard said, “It was never that, never that, it was straight me motivating him to go out there and go do it. Like, that’s the honest truth.
“Just trying to motivate him and keep him going. It’s frustrating obviously look at the score board and how the game went down it’s frustrating, but I was just trying to motivate him to keep on going and fighting through it really.”
Slayton had the same reaction as Shepard when cooler heads prevailed.
“I got a little frustrated, emotions got the best of me a little bit,” Slayton said. “Obviously I don’t know what the camera saw or caught or whatever but when I was speaking to [Shepard] it was that, he was just trying to calm me down, encourage me, and I’m grateful to have him as a teammate.”
As for the discussion with Groh? Slayton said it was a “spirited conversation.”
“Of course my frustration is always going to come from the team’s success,” Slayton said. “Like my individual success obviously everybody wants to go out there and have a bazillion yards and fifty touchdowns and that’s great and fine but I think at that point in the game I think we were down 28-7 if I’m not mistaken so obviously the game had not gone the way we wanted it to go and obviously that was frustrating in itself.
“I just have to manage my emotions better in those scenarios.”
Raised emotions are hardly uncommon in the NFL, especially when the results aren’t there on the field. But this has been an increasingly steady issue for the Giants. Earlier this year, Daboll was spotted on different broadcasts expressing disgust at his quarterbacks after turnovers or failed red-zone plays, including Jones and backup Tyrod Taylor, both of whom are now injured.